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Thread: FAKE Engine Noise / Sounds

  1. #1

    FAKE Engine Noise / Sounds

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    Fisker Karma Electric Car To Blast Out Fake Engine Sounds

    The Washington Post - Title reads:

    America’s best-selling cars and trucks are built on lies: The rise of fake engine noise

    Stomp on the gas in a new Ford Mustang or F-150 and you’ll hear a meaty, throaty rumble — the same style of roar that Americans have associated with auto power and performance for decades.

    It’s a sham. The engine growl in some of America’s best-selling cars and trucks is actually a finely tuned bit of lip-syncing, boosted through special pipes or digitally faked altogether. And it’s driving car enthusiasts insane.

    Fake engine noise has become one of the auto industry’s dirty little secrets, with automakers from BMW to Volkswagen turning to a sound-boosting bag of tricks. Without them, today’s more fuel-efficient engines would sound far quieter and, automakers worry, seemingly less powerful, potentially pushing buyers away.

    Softer-sounding engines are actually a positive symbol of just how far engines and gas economy have progressed. But automakers say they resort to artifice because they understand a key car-buyer paradox: Drivers want all the force and fuel savings of a newer, better engine — but the classic sound of an old gas-guzzler.

    “Enhanced” engine songs have become the signature of eerily quiet electrics such as the Toyota Prius. But the fakery is increasingly finding its way into beefy trucks and muscle cars, long revered for their iconic growl.

    For the 2015 Mustang EcoBoost, Ford sound engineers and developers worked on an “Active Noise Control” system that amplifies the engine’s purr through the car speakers. Afterward, the automaker surveyed members of Mustang fan clubs on which processed “sound concepts” they most enjoyed.

    Ford said in a statement that the vintage V-8 engine boom “has long been considered the mating call of Mustang,” but added that the newly processed pony-car sound is “athletic and youthful,” “a more refined growl” with “a low-frequency sense of powerfulness.”

    Among purists, the trickery has inspired an identity crisis and cut to the heart of American auto legend. The “aural experience” of a car, they argue, is an intangible that’s just as priceless as what’s revving under the hood.

    “For a car guy, it’s literally music to hear that thing rumble,” said Mike Rhynard, 41, a past president and 33-year member of the Denver Mustang Club. He has swayed between love and hate of the snarl-boosting sound tube in his 2012 Mustang GT, but when it comes to computerized noise, he’s unequivocal: “It’s a mind-trick. It’s something it’s not. And no one wants to be deceived.”

    That type of ire has made the auto industry shy about discussing its sound technology. Several attempts to speak with Ford’s sound engineers about the new F-150, a six-cylinder model of America’s best-selling truck that plays a muscular engine note through the speakers, were quietly rebuffed.

    Car companies are increasingly wary of alerting buyers that they might not be hearing the real thing, and many automakers have worked with audio and software engineers to make their cars’ synthesized engine melody more realistic.

    Volkswagen uses what’s called a “Soundaktor,” a special speaker that looks like a hockey puck and plays sound files in cars such as the GTI and Beetle Turbo. Lexus worked with sound technicians at Yamaha to more loudly amplify the noise of its LFA supercar toward the driver seat.

    Photo: Soundaktor

    Photo: Speaker that attaches to VW Firewall

    Some, including Porsche with its “sound symposer,” have used noise-boosting tubes to crank up the engine sound inside the cabin. Others have gone further into digital territory: BMW plays a recording of its motors through the car stereos, a sample of which changes depending on the engine’s load and power.

    Orchestrated engine noise has become a necessity for electric cars, which run so quietly that they can provide a dangerous surprise for inattentive pedestrians and the blind. Federal safety officials expect to finalize rules later this year requiring all hybrid and electric cars to play fake engine sounds to alert passersby, a change that experts estimate could prevent thousands of pedestrian and cyclist injuries.

    With traditional engines, some boosters have even celebrated artificial noise as a little added luxury. Without it, drivers would hear an unsettling silence or only the kinds of road racket they would rather ignore, like bumps in the pavement or the whine of the wind.

    Yet even drivers who appreciate the accompaniment have questioned the mission. A SlashGear reviewer who otherwise enjoyed the new F-150 said the engine sound was piped in “arguably pointlessly.”

    Which raises a more existential question: Does it matter if the sound is fake? A driver who didn’t know the difference might enjoy the thrum and thunder of it nonetheless. Is taking the best part of an eight-cylinder rev and cloaking a better engine with it really, for carmakers, so wrong?

    Not everyone is so diplomatic. Karl Brauer, a senior analyst with Kelley Blue Book, says automakers should stop the lies and get real with drivers.

    “If you’re going to do that stuff, do that stuff. Own it. Tell customers: If you want a V-8 rumble, you’ve gotta buy a V-8 that costs more, gets worse gas mileage and hurts the Earth,” Brauer said. “You’re fabricating the car’s sexiness. You’re fabricating performance elements of the car that don’t actually exist. That just feels deceptive to me.”

    Article by Drew Harwell
    Posted: January 21, 2015

    Original Story as seen on the Washington Post:

  2. #2
    Founding Member SmokinStang's Avatar
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    JALOPNIK chimes in on the matter of FAKE Sound in the Mustang

    As fuel economy and emissions requirements get stricter, automakers increasingly turn to engine downsizing and turbocharging. There's just one problem: many turbo engines don't sound that great. This means some car companies choose to fake the engine noise, and it looks like the 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost is the latest victim of this chicanery.

    That's right: the Mustang, the original pony car, an American performance icon, has resorted to pumping augmented engine noise in through the speakers, much like modern turbocharged BMWs do. This makes me kind of sad.

    This revelation was made by
    Road & Track's Jason Cammisa during his recent drive of the car, in which he pulled a fuse on the 2.3-liter turbocharged Mustang that caused both the stereo and the engine to go quiet.

    @jasoncammisa pulls fuse 27 on 4cyl #2015mustang EcoBoost. Both stereo & engine go quiet. #FakeEngineNoise #busted!

    1:54 PM - 17 Sep 2014

    So the folks at Autoblog today asked Ford what the deal was, and here's what they uncovered:

    Autoblog spoke with Ford engineer Shawn Carney who confirmed that only the turbocharged four-cylinder Mustang comes with this system, called Active Noise Control.1In fact, Carney is partially responsible for tuning and shaping the EcoBoost's note in the Mustang, and he said the setup serves two distinct functions. First, it cancels out some of the coarse noise as part of the 'Stang's refinement strategy. It also allows Ford to enhance things by "layering in certain sound characteristics on top of what's already there," he said. To determine the right mix, the engine processor monitors torque output and changes things accordingly. "The intent is to be a natural experience," said Carney.2345

    Active Noise Control, they call it. Granted, it's not like the car is pumping in an entirely fabricated sound, but at the same time it's inauthentic, isn't it? Can you enjoy the engine sound if you know it's not real, and being piped in through the stereo? The UK's CAR magazine had a mention of this in an interview with Mustang Chief Engineer Dave Perciaklast year. I guess this didn't get much attention at the time. Here's the section in question:

    With the Ecoboost engine we have both active noise cancellation, and we also amplify the existing engine sound order. We don't create an artificial sound, we don't pluck one off the shelf, we bring in the real sound, process it, and play it through the car's speakers. Today's V6 sounds fantastic, and although the Ecoboost won't sound like a V8, it won't sound like it doesn't belong in a Mustang either.6

    Ford isn't the only manufacturer to do this, and it isn't done entirely because most turbo engines sound like crap — it's also to keep down noise, vibration and harshness. Today's cars are loaded down with insulation for a reason.

    Previous Mustangs have had some sound augmentation as well, but that was done through a resonator pipe between the engine and firewall designed to let in more noise. BMWs go even further than this, playing a recording of an engine sound over the speakers.78

    The last time I drove a BMW M235i, I loved the way it sounded, but I couldn't allow myself to enjoy it because deep down I knew it wasn't real. Maybe that doesn't matter to everyone, but it matters to me. Noise is an important part of a driving experience, and a car that doesn't sound great isn't worth owning.9

    It doesn't seem like Active Noise Control is equipped on V6 and V8 cars, which is good. But Autoblog closes with one more disappointing tidbit: this system is integrated into the Mustang EcoBoost's head unit, so upgrading your stereo means no more engine sound.101112 Bummer.

    Article by:
    Patrick GeorgeFiled to: 2015 Ford Mustang

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    Founding Member SmokinStang's Avatar
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